Update: West posted two more tweets clarifying what he meant about the 13th Amendment. The rapper was in fact talking about "slavery in disguise," as some followers guessed. He advised that America "not abolish but. Let's amend the 13th Amendment."
not abolish but. let’s amend the 13th amendment
We apply everyone’s opinions to our platform— ye (@kanyewest) September 30, 2018
Kanye West's tweet storm on Sunday included a confusing message about his "Make America Great Again" hat, which he said represented the abolition of the 13th Amendment.
The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution ended the practice of slavery. It was ratified following the civil war, but West seems to imply that it is time for the law to go.
West's full tweet also spoke about what the "Make America Great Again" hat represents to him. That included a focus on domestic manufacturing and job creation, prison reform and, perhaps, the repeal of the 13th Amendment.
"This represents good and America becoming whole again," he wrote alongside a photo of his hat. "We will no longer outsource to other countries. We build factories here in America and create jobs. We will provide jobs for all who are free from prisons as we abolish the 13th amendment. Message sent with love."
Many readers assumed that West was referring to a more nuanced reading of the 13th Amendment. By some interpretations, the document allowed prisons to force their prisoners to work, essentially creating a criminalized slave class among prisoners. This, in turn, creates an incentive to keep incarceration at a high rate, as it currently is in the United States.
13th amendment abolished slavery, but specifies that slavery/indentured servitude are legal punishments for crime. basically kanye wants to abolish the corrupt private for-profit prisons.— Trey (@treythedank) September 30, 2018
However, many other fans pointed out that West left no indication that this was what he meant in his tweet. Even if he was referring to for-profit prisons, the post was inflammatory and hurtful to many among West's audience, especially after he made no move to clarify. Furthermore, other followers pointed out that many of West's products, such as his Yeezy sneakers, are made overseas in China, making his post about manufacturing hypocritical.
West has also been posting about his connections with Apple recently, a company with a long history of outsourcing and allegedly mistreating workers. Earlier on Sunday, West tweeted that his company YZY was "here in service to Steve [Jobs'] vision."
YZY Is a for purpose (non profit) arm (branch) of Apple. We unofficially work for Steve Johnny Tim and Lorraine. Everything we do at YZY is to be an arm (branch) of what our hero Steve has created. With love.— ye (@kanyewest) September 30, 2018
The layers of irony within West's post went even deeper, as some followers wryly pointed out that the hat he was wearing was likely manufactured overseas as well. Others noted with disdain that he was clearly sitting on a private jet, far from the anxieties of poverty or imprisonment.
West made a splash by wearing his infamous red hat on Saturday Night Live's season premiere this weekend. He also tweeted that series creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels had promised to let him host the show before the year was over, though neither Michaels nor SNL has confirmed that news yet.